Family Physicians' Association of Estonia (Eesti Perearstide Selts) have criticised the implementation of the digital registering of deaths, saying the service does not work.
On Jul. 1 an e-service was introduced so that relatives of the deceased would no longer have to register a death at a government office. Instead, the government office could electronically take the document directly from the health care facility or hospital.
As a result, death-related data is digitally transferred between authorities, relatives of the deceased are freed from bureaucracy, and doctors do not have to do additional paperwork.
However, Andres Lasn, member of the board of the Estonian Society of Family Practitioners, said although the objectives of the new system have been largely met, the road to developing the system has been painful and was introduced when it was not fully developed.
"With such a major reform, you have to think as much as possible about who is going to be affected by the change and go into as much depth and detail as possible. Before it is introduced any mistakes or concerns should become visible," Lasn said ERR reported.
Taavi Annus, advisor to the Ministry of Social Affairs' Smart Development Support Department, said that when creating digital solutions it is not possible to complete them and analyze all the details in advance before the system becomes operational.
It is true that death announcements still do not pass through electronic channels, Annus said. But when analyzing the system already in use, developments can continue to be made so that one day the death announcement will be in electronic form.
"At the moment, this death certificate is still on paper, but our goal is certainly to get it digital. In general, this paper is most clearly needed for burial or identification, so that funeral offices and cemeteries that may not have such a great deal of digital access today could also be accessed through national channels," Annus said.
However, in the example of the electronic death notification system, Annus says, the first step, user comfort, is in place – people no longer need to go to the local government to register the death of their loved one.
"In the first few months of the service, over 98 percent of these deaths were registered using a digital solution, and in September there was a full week when 100 percent of everything was registered by a health care provider. The project was getting off to a good start," Annus said.
Editor: Helen Wright